Tokyo Marathon held a special board meeting Mar. 19 to discuss plans for staging this year's race on Oct. 17. As a measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the decision was made to reduce the field size from 38,000 to 25,000 participants. The race's slogan will be "The Day When Tokyo Once Again Becomes One." Entries will be open Mar. 22 to 31.
Rough guidelines were also established for the process by which the final decision on whether the race can go ahead will be made. If a state of emergency is declared within a month prior to the marathon, it will be canceled at that time. "Holding a safe and secure event is our number one priority," commented an official. International entries will be accepted.
Because the 2020 edition of the race was held with only elite athletes, mass-participation runners were given the option of transferring their entries to either the 2021 or 2022 editions. Roughly 7,000 people opted to run 2021, meaning about 18,000 further entries will be accepted. Part of the course will be changed, and there will also be an uncertified 10.7 km run.
This year's Tokyo Marathon was originally scheduled for Mar. 7, but amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis organizers decided last October to postpone it., prioritizing holding it close to its usual capacity over holding it on-schedule with a drastically reduced field again. Because Tokyo was rescheduled for October when elite marathons are scheduled to take place around the world and Japanese athletes are in the middle of ekiden season, it is expected that there will be problems with attracting elite athletes from abroad and within Japan. Race director Tadaaki Hayano commented, "With the Paris Olympics on the horizon I hope that young athletes and newcomers will come into sight." With Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu) having set a new men's national record at the Lake Biwa Marathon last month at age 25, hopes are high for a race where the next generation will shine.
translated and edited by Brett Larner